France is rightfully one of the most popular destinations for British skiers due to its picturesque scenery, snow sure slopes and vast and varied ski terrain. To help you plan your next trip, here’s our guide to the crème de la crème of French resorts.
Located at the end of the Tarentaise valley, Val d’Isère offers access to the renowned Espace Killy, one of the best all-round ski areas in the world. With 300km of slopes and 158 runs, there’s something here to suit everyone, from the challenging Face de Bellevarde piste, to the gentler cruising slopes in the Solaise sector. The resort is also well known for sport, having hosted the World Alpine Ski Championships in 2009, and the Critérium de la Première Neige competition every year since 1955. Local restaurants serve up an abundance of rustic Savoyard cuisine, and après ski options include the legendary Dick’s Tea Bar.
Perched at a lofty 2,300m at the head of the Belleville Valley, Val Thorens has the honour of being the highest ski resort in Europe, and boasts more than 600km of linked pistes across the Trois Vallées ski area. There’s a wide variety of ski terrain here, from gentle nursery slopes to mogully blacks and challenging glaciers. At 3,200m, the top of the Cime de Caron is not for the faint of heart, but those who brave the cable car journey will be rewarded with some incredible panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. The largest nightclub in the Alps, Malaysia, is found here, along with the highest pub in Europe, the Frog and Roastbeef.
Made up from ten separate villages, La Plagne offers multiple ski experiences depending on which one you choose to stay in. Montchavin is a great family favourite with its snow garden and sledge area, whilst Belle Plagne and Plagne Centre are the best villages for lively pubs and late night discos. With access to the vast Paradiski ski area there is a variety of terrain to keep everyone happy too, from relaxed blue runs to the challenge of the Bellecôte Glacier. In addition, the bobsleigh from the 1992 Winter Olympics is a must-do, with three different tracks winding down a 1.5km track from Plagne 1800 to La Roche.
The small, picturesque village of Les Gets started life as a dairy farming village in the 12th century, and still retains a rustic charm that sets it apart from the larger purpose-built resorts. There are 650km of pistes to choose from in the Portes du Soleil ski area, with an abundance of intermediate slopes, 66 groomed trails and 12km of cross country skiing. The resort has a reputation for being family friendly and has a P’tits Montagnards award for child care, as well as a Family Plus Mountain Award. Along with a good selection of bars and restaurants, the picturesque town has some traditional Savoyard shops along the main street selling French bread and cakes and locally cured meats and cheeses.